Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Book Series on "Statistical Reasoning in Science & Society"

Back in early 2016, the American Statistical Association (ASA) made an announcement in its newsletter, Amstat News, about the introduction of an important new series of books. In part, that announcement said:
"The American Statistical Association recently partnered with Chapman & Hall/CRC Press to launch a book series called the ASA-CRC Series on Statistical Reasoning in Science and Society. 
'The ASA is very enthusiastic about this new series,' said 2015 ASA President David Morganstein, under whose leadership the arrangement was made. 'Our strategic plan includes increasing the visibility of our profession. One way to do that is with books that are readable, exciting, and serve a broad audience having a minimal background in mathematics or statistics.' 
The Chapman & Hall/CRC press release states the book series will do the following:
  • Highlight the important role of statistical and probabilistic reasoning in many areas
  • Require minimal background in mathematics and statistics
  • Serve a broad audience, including professionals across many fields, the general public, and students in high schools and colleges
  • Cover statistics in wide-ranging aspects of professional and everyday life, including the media, science, health, society, politics, law, education, sports, finance, climate, and national security
  • Feature short, inexpensive books of 100–150 pages that can be written and read in a reasonable amount of time."
Seven titles have now been published in this series -

Measuring Society, by Chaitra H. Nagaraja (2019)
Measuring Crime: Behind the Statistics, by Sharon L. Lohr (2019)
Statistics and Health Care Fraud: How to Save Billions, by Tahir Ekin (2019)
Improving Your NCAA® Bracket with Statistics, by Tom Adams (2018)
Data Visualization: Charts, Maps, and Interactive Graphics, by Robert Grant (2018)
Visualizing Baseball, by Jim Albert (2017)
Errors, Blunders, and Lies: How to Tell the Difference, by David S. Salsburg (2017)

Readers of this blog should be especially interested in Chaitra Nagaraja's recently published addition to this series. Chaitra devotes chapters in her book to the topics of  Jobs, Inequality, Housing, Prices, Poverty, and Deprivation. I particularly like the historical perspective that Chaitra provides in this very readable contribution, and I recommend her book to you (and your non-economist friends). 

© 2019, David E. Giles

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Check out What Happened at the 2019 Joint Statistical Meetings

Each year, the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) bring together thousands (6,500 this year) of statisticians at what's the largest gathering of its type in the world. The JSM represent eleven international statistics organisations, including the four founding organisations - The American Statistical Association (ASA), The International Biometric Society, The Institute of Mathematical Statistical, and The Statistical Society of Canada.

As a member of the ASA since 1973 I've attended a few of these meetings over the years, but unfortunately I didn't make it to the JSM in Denver at the end of last month. As always, the program was amazing.

Yesterday, the ASA released a searchable version of the 2019 program that contains downloadable files of the slides used by many of the speakers. You can find that version of the program here. When you go through the program, look for presentations that have blue (rectangular) "Presentation" button. Papers in sessions sponsored by the Business and Economic Statistics section of the ASA may be of special interest to you - but there's lots to choose from!

© 2019, David E. Giles

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Including More History in Your Econometrics Teaching

If you follow this blog (or if you look at the "History of Econometrics" label in the word cloud in the right side-bar), you'll know that I have more than a passing interest in the history of our discipline. There's so much to be learned from this history. Among other things, we can gain insights into why certain methods became popular, and we can reduce the risk of repeating earlier mistakes!

When I was teaching I liked to inject a few historical facts/anecdotes/curiosities into my classes. I think that this brought the subject matter to life a little. The names behind the various theorems, tests, and estimators are those of real people, after all.

There are some excellent books on the history of econometrics, including those by Epstein (1987), Morgan (1990), and De Marchi and Gilbert (1991). (Also, see the short piece by Stephen Pollock, 2014.)

However, I think that we could do more in terms of making material about this history accessible to our students.

The Statistics community has gone much further in this direction, and we might take note of this.

The other day, Amanda Golbeck posted some very helpful links on the American Statistical Association's "History of Statistics Interest Group" community noticeboard.

Here's her posting in its entirety - and don't miss the first of her links:

"Why not include more history in your teaching? The History of Statistics Interest Group library has a collection of Activities for Classes: community.amstat.org/historyofstats/ourlibrary/...

We are pleased to let you know that Bob Rosenfeld has created 13 history of probability and statistics teaching modules, and he has kindly made them available for you to use in your classes! We hope you will find them to be useful.

Reading and Exercises on the History of Probability from the Vermont Mathematics Initiative, Bob Rosenfeld
Reading and Exercises on the History of Statistics from the Vermont Mathematics Initiative, Bob Rosenfeld
(Bob Rosenfeld was former Co-Director for Statistics and School-Based Research at the Vermont Mathenatics initiative, and the author of a number of books on the teaching of statistics to K-8 students. D.G.)

Most of Bob Rosenfeld's pieces are directly relevant to econometrics students. It would be nice to see more material about the history of our discipline that could be incorporated into introductory econometrics courses.


De Marchi, N. & C. Gilbert, 1990. History and Methodology of Econometrics. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Epstein, R. J. 1987. A History of Econometrics. North-Holland, Amsterdam.

Morgan, M. S., 1991. The History of Econometric Ideas. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Pollock, D. S. G., 2014. Econometrics - An historical guide for the uninitiated. Working Paper No. 14/05, Department of economics, University of Leicester.

© 2019, David E. Giles

Friday, August 2, 2019

Suggested Reading for August

Here are my suggestions for this month:
  • Bun, M. J. G. & T. D. Harrison, 2109. OLS and IV estimation of regression models including endogenous interaction terms. Econometric Reviews, 38, 814-827.
  • Dufour, J-M., E. Flachaire, & L. Khalaf, Permutation tests for comparing inequality measures. Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 37, 457-470.
  • Jiao, X. & F. Pretis, 2018. Testing the presence of outliers in regression models. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3217213.
  • Stanton, J. M., 2001. Galton, Pearson, and the peas: A brief history of linear regression for statistics instructors. Journal of Statistics Education, 9, 1-13.
  • Trafimow, D., 2019. A frequentist alternative to significance testing, p-values and confidence intervals. Econometrics, 7, 26.
© 2019, David E. Giles